Quantum Internet for Europe: TU Dresden has joined the Quantum Internet Alliance and is researching quantum technology in new communication networks

Quantum Internet for Europe: TU Dresden has joined the Quantum Internet Alliance and is researching quantum technology in new communication networks

Portrait of Professor Fitzek

picture: Prof. Frank HP Fitzek, Deutsche Telekom Chair of Communication Networks
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Credit: Jörg Simanowski

Teacher. Frank HP Fitzek and Asst. Professor Riccardo Bassoli from the Deutsche Telekom Chair of Communication Networks represents TUD in the joint project. Together with 40 scientific and industrial partners, they are looking for an innovative European quantum internet prototype. The two researchers are primarily interested in how quantum technology can be used to improve telecommunications networks in the future. The quantum internet connects quantum computers together. These computers don’t use zero and one, they work with qubits that can take on multiple states simultaneously and connect with physical matter or particles of light. Quantum systems can carry more information than classical systems because they encode information between components rather than within them. For many years, researchers have been trying to figure out how to stabilize fragile qubits and how to connect more of them to each other.

Secure communication via the quantum internet

Something that can be achieved sooner rather than later with quantum bits is the transmission of secure information that cannot be exploited by third parties. With quantum physics, it is possible to reliably detect any third party intercepting the line. The phenomenon of quantum entanglement makes this possible: two qubits are inseparably linked, even if they are located several kilometers from each other. Just like teleportation, one can provide information to the other. The state of the first light particle also appears in the second photon despite the distance between them. The entanglement of two qubits cannot be broken, creating a private connection. Quantum cryptography takes advantage of this principle to encrypt information, so that it can be transmitted securely and confidentially.

The quantum internet, pioneer of European digital sovereignty

Quantum cryptography systems are already used today to transmit encryption codes from banks and governments, for example. Currently, this is possible for distances up to about 70-80 kilometers. The quantum internet is expected to expand the potential distances that quantum encrypted information can travel, enabling the construction of a quantum network. China is at the forefront of creating such a network, which is why the EU wants to close the gap and has started investing in this technology. The seven-year QIA project was launched in October 2022 to create a quantum internet network in Europe. The alliance is part of the Quantum Flagship Project, a multi-billion euro research project funded by the European Commission to help European researchers and businesses create a digitally independent Europe. QIA has spent the past few years laying the groundwork for the realization of its prototype. This includes the first in-lab multiprocessor quantum network, the first quantum software and network stack, and a state-of-the-art quantum repeater system that will enable long-distance quantum communications in the future.

TU Dresden’s role in the Quantum Internet Alliance

Teacher. Frank HP Fitzek and Asst. Professor Riccardo Bassoli focuses on the definition and characterization of specific applications for the quantum internet. Identifying the applications of a technology that, strictly speaking, does not yet exist is a real challenge. This could be compared to the development of applications such as e-mail or online banking before the birth of the Internet that we know in the late 1960s. quantum communication technologies to support 5G and future 6G use cases. The focus is on seamless integration between future 6G networks and quantum communication technologies.

The Quantum Internet Alliance

Founded in 2017 by European market leaders QuTech, ICFO, the University of Innsbruck and the Paris Quantum Computing Center, the Quantum Internet Alliance is a team of academic institutions, telecommunications operators, integrators systems and quantum technology start-ups from across Europe. . QIA receives funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. In its first project phase covering a period of 3.5 years, QIA was awarded a total budget of 24 million euros.

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